Did the Greenpeace Palm Oil campaign against Nestle really work?

The recent weeks has seen some interesting stakeholder pressure action by Greenpeace pressuring Nestle and its brand KitKat to discontinue buying palm oil from the palm oil supplier Sinar Mas . Sinar Mas, Greenpeace claims, is involved in illegal rain forest clearance in Indonesia.
In a recent post I was highly critical of the shock approach Greenpeace has decided to go with. This is the post: What the Greenpeace Nestle KitKat campaign is missing

Todays post is a follow up post on the results this campaign produced and my view on whether this campaign was a success or not.

This is what the campaign succeeded in doing:

This is an overview of the campaign coverage and results:

http://prezi.com/kmrh4fmlzsen/nestle-kerfuffle/

But was the campaign really a success for the promotion of Sustainable Palm Oil production?

I believe that the campaign was not as successful as it could have been. Why? Well, how will you remember this campaign? Will you remember it as a campaign that helped the orang-utans in the Indonesian rainforest and promoting sustainable palm oil practice or will you remember it as a a social media case study on how to not do social media?

I will unfortunately remember it as a campaign on how to not do social media and this is a real shame.

For sustainable palm oil to be the only real palm oil option it is crucial that companies such as Nestle and Cargill (palm oil supplier for Nestle) are investing heavily in the availability of sustainable palm across the globe. This is the problem with sustainable palm oil. We simply do not have enough of it available.

The Greenpeace ‘shocker’ campaign has not helped in my opinion as it mostly created a hostile environment between consumers, NGO’s and companies. We need to do better if we really want to change the way these companies do their business. We need to engage and help companies do the right choices. This is our duty as modern stakeholders!

No Comments

  1. Agree. That's what I came away with mostly too.If everyone in the room is fighting, it's unlikely that much worthwhile is going to get constructed.I just wish I didn't suspect that many 'in the mix' (media, especially) don't find the 'game' more stimulating than the supposed aim.

  2. I agree. Antagonism makes for great copy and exciting-to-watch social media tizzies, but…having a lasting effect and recognition of core issues?.. not so much.

  3. "Too much shock & no constructive criticism" – Hmmm…not so sure I agree. Check out http://tiny.cc/e80z2 "Was the campaign really a success" – The campaign is still running – a bit too early to judge its success or not.

  4. Being in advocacy advertising, I agree it could've been handled much better. For as long as we use strategies that "blackmail" corporations, we'll only see actions that essentially mitigate the problem instead of encourage solid diaglogue on how to transform the supply chain, for example. Knee-jerk reactions to public criticism are merely bandaids. There's really no deep commitment from the corporations to look for sustainable solutions–just the desire to get people off their backs. Nestle is no stranger to this controversy having been previously targeted for their coffee and fair trade practices. The media–from advertising to PR should be more circumspect instead of just aiming for bang and flash.

  5. Hi Fabian! Thank you for your post and for starting the conversation. I like your analytic approach, as I have seen myself that several times the greenpeace campaigns have raised the level of attention on some controversial issues with highly emotional messages. Now. I believe that the world is better off because of the work of greenpeace. The way they have been raising attention has sometimes been controversial, I acknowledge that and totally agree with you. I also think that the message could have been delivered in other ways. But isn't the predicament of greenpeace to use messages that have high-impacts? If the work of greenpeace was to give constructive criticism, was there a risk that people would see it as a "consulting" work, thereby betraying GP's style? It is very early to judge the lasting results of this campaign. What we can say on a hindsight is that many corporations have been reactive (instead of proactive) to change and they have done major changes only when forced from external pressures. A nice example for me is the greenapple campaign. After Apple has been attacked by greenpeace, the pressure was simply too much. Because Apple wanted to be perceived as a proactive leader in its industry, now they are doing some really concrete efforts. Would love to hear what you guys think. Cheers, M.

  6. Thank you for the comments on this post everyone. Really appreciate your feedback. Nestle and Greenpeace I believe have come to some sort of ceasefire. At least they are not protesting in front of the HQ anymore. Lets see how this will play out during the course of this year. To be continued……….

  7. Dear FabianI do agree with your comments. Sustanability /Sustainable supply chain procurement is a vast topic without it being hijacked by "chaotic" elements. Corporations are interested in CSR and sustainability issues as research by organizations like HEC-Paris / Ecovaidis and others shows. Sustainable supply chain procurement may have been a minor (third) issue in the past for operation managers behind the need to cut operational costs/brand protection/CSR but much has changed over the last few years. Majority of EU corporations do have CSR/sustanable supply chain procurement policies but their difficulty is to bridge the gulf between having a policy and its actual execution.Greenpeace's intention's would have been perhaps better recieved by the general public had they not executed thier policy so badlyKind regards

  8. Dear FabianI do agree with your comments. Sustanability /Sustainable supply chain procurement is a vast topic without it being hijacked by "chaotic" elements. Corporations are interested in CSR and sustainability issues as research by organizations like HEC-Paris / Ecovaidis and others shows. Sustainable supply chain procurement may have been a minor (third) issue in the past for operation managers behind the need to cut operational costs/brand protection/CSR but much has changed over the last few years. Majority of EU corporations do have CSR/sustanable supply chain procurement policies but their difficulty is to bridge the gulf between having a policy and its actual execution.Greenpeace's intention's would have been perhaps better recieved by the general public had they not executed thier policy so badlyKind regards


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